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Old 02-07-2011, 07:25 PM   #1
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Default CBS Sued Over 63-Year-Old Song Used in 'Family Ties'

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blo...year-old-97091

CBS Sued Over 63-Year-Old Song Used in 'Family Ties'
February 7 10:49 AM 2/7/2011 by Eriq Gardner


Here's a little trip down TV memory lane...

Kling Corporation, the rights-holder of the theme song to TV's first hit -- the 1940s variety show titled Texaco Star Theatre featuring Milton Berle -- has just filed a lawsuit against CBS over an episode of Family Ties that first aired on March 28, 1985.

The episode showed character Steven Keaton taking a nostalgic trip to his childhood and included the song, "We are the Men of Texaco," the theme to that Milton Berle show. The producers secured a license for the song when it first aired on television, but the agreement allegedly didn't provide any rights for the show once it came out on video and DVDs. Twenty five years later, Kling Corp now says its copyrighted song has been infringed.

Thanks to statute of limitations, if Kling is successful in its claim, it will only be able to collect damages on the the past three years of DVD sales on Family Ties. Kling had demanded a license fee of $19,000 from producers, but now are after statutory damages for willful infringement -- which means up to $150,000 per infringement.

The lawsuit perhaps highlights how few in Hollywood anticipated new revenue streams back in the old days, sometimes failing to lock up rights in agreements. Still, a dispute involving a 63-year-old song in a 26-year-old TV show? Don't see that every day.
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Old 02-07-2011, 10:48 PM   #2
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The show aired on NBC not CBS. The dvd sets are through CBS, but the original run of the show was on NBC.

What's the point? It's been 26 years since that episode aired. What's next the person tries to find out when that episode aired in sydnication, what channel, time etc. so he/she can sue that company? It's just ridiculous. I understand the person wants credit for the song, but it seems like overkill.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:03 AM   #3
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Default Paramount originally produced and owned "FAMILY TIES"..

...but in recent years, the corporate merger of Paramount's parent company, VIACOM, with CBS has shifted control of virtually all of Paramount's TV library to CBS, no matter what network those series originally appeared on. So, CBS is the one who gets the lawsuit thrown into their corporate face.

The late Bernard "Buddy" Arnold and the late Heywood "Woody" Kling, primarily comedy writers, wrote the immortal "Texaco" jingle that opened every "TEXACO STAR THEATER" telecast Milton Berle emceed between 1948 and 1953. A male quartet in Texaco service station uniforms would appear on stage after the opening title, and sing...

"Oh, we're the men of Texaco
We work from Maine to Mexico
There's nothing like this Texaco of ours!
Our show tonight is powerful,
We'll wow you with an hour-full of
howls from a showerful of stars!
We're the merry Texaco men,
Tonight we may be showmen,
Tomorrow we'll be servicing your car!"

Then, after singing a few more lines about what they do and the kind of gasoline they sell (to Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody"), they declared-

"And now, ladies and gentlmen...introducing America's #1 Television Star....
{the line spoken here usually set up Milton's entrance in an outrageous costume**
The man who just paid his income tax....
MILTON BERLE!!!"

The quartet would then part to make way for Milton- in the above example, he came out wearing nothing but a large barrel {get it?**. Audiences loved those entrances....


Yet, the song is still copyrighted in Kling's name, and his company {and heirs, not to mention Arnold's** is entitled to any monies due them whenever that song is used...and that goes for any new technology that "FAMILY TIES" episode may be reproduced on....

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Old 02-08-2011, 01:41 AM   #4
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I would be very surprised if this holds up in a courtroom. If they were that adamant about the song being used, they should have said something A LOT sooner after the episode aired. Of course, it's possible that the Kling Corporation is just now noticing the song. I'd lose a lot of respect for any judge who makes "Family Ties" pay for the rights to this song at this late date.
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:24 AM   #5
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i guess because they got lorne micheals to cough up a ton of money for the songs use in the snl season 4 dvds the king corp figures they can get a few trillion pennies out of cbs too
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:47 PM   #6
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somebody is hard up for money...
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Old 04-25-2011, 12:29 AM   #7
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I'm sure that what FTF meant to say was: "The distribution rights are through CBS (Television Distribution), but the original run was on NBC."
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